An Uncomplicated Life Blog: The Importance of Alone Time

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Importance of Alone Time

Since Henry started preschool two days a week, one thing has become abundantly clear: How absolutely important alone time is, even for the most extreme of extroverts. I'm pretty high up on the extrovert scale, too. But the last two weeks have shown me the real value of "me time."

The other thing that has become painfully clear is how little alone time stay at home moms (SAHM) get. Yes; specifically SAHM's, not just all moms, although we're all lacking in sufficient alone time.

Let me paint the picture: I drop Henry off at school for his very first day. As soon as I'm alone, I head straight to my favorite coffee shop, get a latte (which I consider a treat - I never get fancy coffee!), and head over to my favorite spot in Dallas: White Rock Lake. I roll down all the windows, open the sun roof, and simply sit there in silence, enjoying my coffee, listening to birds and watching a rowing team practice on the lake.

It crossed my mind that I have not been alone, truly, absolutely alone, more than once or twice since Henry was born. Sure, I might get an hour to run to a crowded grocery store on the weekends, and a few times I've been able to coordinate schedules with my husband so I can get my hair done. But people are always around, talking to me, getting in my way, telling me how much things cost or asking me questions.

But true, quiet alone time is a rarity.

SAHM's are never alone. It's rarely appropriate to use the word never, but that's indeed the case here. I don't get to go to the bathroom by myself. Even though our bathrooms have a separate room for the toilet, that door stays open so Henry can see me. All moms know this is the easier way to do it! He's always in the car with me. He's at my feet when I write blog posts, sometimes behaving, sometimes not. My meals are not my own; because he's with me all day, he eats whatever I eat and usually prefers it right out of my hand or off my plate.  Even when Henry goes down for a nap, I have to keep an ear out for him and drop what I'm doing to get him when he wakes. I don't get a guaranteed one or two hours of non-baby time per day, no promised showers and definitely zero thinking time.

I love having Henry with me, but last week I was reminded on how important being alone is. Un-rushed. Without having to ask my husband to watch him while I scramble to get something done, checking my phone for any emergencies/questions that come up. I'm talking completely alone time, time to think, time to sit and just be, time to slowly sip your coffee/eat a meal un-rushed and without little hands getting into it.

My lake side treat: a 2% latte and breakfast sandwich. No little hands got into this sam'ich, I shared with no one!

After just 30 minutes by that lake in the car by myself, I noticed I was much calmer. I was happier. I didn't resent anything in my life. I had a more positive perspective on things. Alone time is important for the mental health of all of us, but even more so for the SAHM who rarely, if ever, gets it.


  1. H starting school is going to make your life so much easier. I'm glad you're finally getting the alone time everyone needs (although you may could use more-haha!).

  2. I just read a blog post about this yesterday (Is "Me Time" Selfish?) and noted the importance of "me time," especially for stay-at-home parents. Studies show that "breaks" increase productivity at work, and nobody bats an eye at the fact workers are required to have two 15-minute breaks plus lunch - but what stay-at-home mom gets AN HOUR of time "off" It's so, so, so important for our own health to have some "me time" - it's not a luxury or selfish indulgence; it's a NECESSITY for good self-care. When we don't have some "downtime," we're exhausted, stressed, and overwhelmed (which often leads to short-tempered, impatient, distracted, etc. while we're with our family). I also think taking "me time" to pursue our own hopes and dreams and goals and aspirations sets a good example for our kids - it gives THEM hopes and dreams and goals and aspirations, and the motivation / inspiration to pursue them! Sooo many benefits that people overlook. I make time every day to meditate for at least 10-15 minutes, and with enough practice, I've got to the point that I really can "block out" any distracting noises that may be going on around, and I've clearly seen how much more calm, peaceful, and laid back I've become by investing those few precious minutes into myself.

    1. Yes yes yes yes yes to all of this!! Love it! It's so true. Office/salaried staff get even more than an hour per day of "off" time (I know I took several long lunches, or a lunch and a long coffee chat with a coworker...) plus their day isn't longer than 9hrs. But SAHM roles are 12-13 hr days with zero breaks and 100% on-call time. By the time the kid/kiddos are in bed, you're so exhausted mentally and physically from the day it's all you can do to stay up for an hour to clean up the house or watch some idiot TV, let alone give your spouse some attention! Getting a little help with Henry has been the best thing to happen to my mental health, marriage, home life, and even my mothering ability.

      LOVE all the points you make! I'm replying here since you're a no-reply blogger and I can't email you back.

  3. Oh girl yes. Alone time is so important! I rarely get it as well (maybe a handful of times since A was born) and when I do I 1) don't know what to do with myself, but then 2) just take a deep, cleansing breath and embrace it.

  4. I think it's so important for everyone to have alone time, whether it's the gym or just a peaceful few minuets in the park much needed for our sanity! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  5. The last part is like the most crucial. You need that alone time so you are recharged and ready to take on everybody. I know when I am stressed and just need some quiet time everyone around me is not getting the best me. I think it's total sensory overload sometimes. Like when you are around people and especially little people all the time your brain can't relax. I'm so glad you were able to take in the stillness of just being. Then I'm sure you gave him the biggest squeezes when you picked him up ;-)

  6. So true, I start to get a bit crazy when I'm around people too long! My kids are testing my patience this week and I'm ready for some alone time pretty much ALL the time!

  7. I'm not a mom yet, but I can sort of understand this from being a nanny! They are just always talking or needing my attention the whole time I'm there. As soon as I leave I don't know what to do with myself! I'm more of an introvert so I definitely need my alone time! It's something I'll have to make sure to set up once I have kids.

  8. So good! Alone time is so important..even as not a mother but I can only imagine SUPER needing it when I am. And Paige...I so wish I had known you when I lived in Dallas! I used to go to White Rock Coffee :)

  9. I don't know how you do it. I don't even have kids and I need serious alone time in order to function like a normal human! So glad you got that time to yourself, you deserve it!

  10. i obviously don't have kids, but alone time is so vital to my sanity. KC gets summers off, so he has all day to do his thing, I get home from a hard day or week of work and he's like a puppy that wants attention and i'm just like I need to relax please!! for like 3 months, i barely get 5 minutes to myself. i'm not complaining, it just wears on you, you know? so when his brother calls him to go to a soccer game or his mom needs help around the house I'm like 'i love you but please get the heck out of here'.
    I love taking a bath, watching tv or listening to music really loudly. i love just laying on the bed with my cats. i know this will all change when i have kids, so i'm trying to savour it ;)